General Motors' decision to stop disclosing its monthly output figures to the public has raised concerns from industry analysts and economists as well as suppliers who depend on the data for their production plans. GM and other major carmakers have been disclosing the monthly output figures of their North American sites, detailing production numbers by nameplate.
GM’s production data are included into various economic indicators and are a benchmark for industry insiders to forecast GM's future output. The carmaker, however, informed several research providers -- including IHS Automotive, the Automotive News Data Center and Autodata Corp. -- this month that it will no longer provide them the figures, and instead will provide only wholesale numbers.
According to GM, a change in the manner it records financial results for its vehicles renders the production data less relevant. However, the carmaker’s move is expected leave a large gap in a data set that has been watched by both auto industry insiders and outsiders.
GM remains the largest carmaker in the US and serves as an indicator of the health of the auto industry and the overall economy. Analysts are not only ones having a headache over GM’s decision, but also auto suppliers.
Many suppliers subscribe to the production projections made by third-party research firms, which includes production figures as a vital factor for their forecasts. Following GM’s move, forecasters will have to replace its production numbers with estimates. Craig Fitzgerald, an automotive analyst at Plante Moran, told Automotive News that suppliers rely heavily on forecasting services to build their production schedules. [source: automotive news - sub. required]